“Would you like to see my book?! I just finished it.”
She holds her 5 page booklet up to her Zoom screen to read. “How to Make a Cake by Kindergarten Aubrey.”
I was so struck by her calling herself that. It was almost as if she understood that she was yet another incarnation of Aubrey. That she would be constantly evolving throughout her life. We went on to talk about her writing. It was a writing conference where I was really trying to understand Aubrey the writer and more than that, Aubrey the person.
Later, thinking about how she called herself, I wondered why I had never called myself the same way. What if, upon presenting my first baby, I said to hospital visitors, “This is Dylan Patrick by 35 year old Natalie.” I did not have a grade at that time to name. We are not in grades after a while after all. But, we still have seasons of our life. What might I have called that season besides my age?
I found myself thinking about this as I walked my dog. I noticed he was searching for snow again. Now disappeared. He had come to love his daily king-of-the-mountain poops. What was a tired old tree trunk poop compared to that?!
Maybe that season was my baby making season. Imagine me again with those same hospital visitors, “This is Dylan Patrick by baby making Natalie.” I kind of like the idea of naming my season so that I see that time as just that a season. It is both permanent in how it feels at the time and totally impermanent in a life time. When I first had Dylan, my mom said to me, “My best advice to you is that everything is a stage. Good. Stage. Bad. Stage.” Wise advice for sure but my mom was 55 when she said this and Aubrey, 5.
Every Natalie is connected to all of the Natalie’s who came before and all of the Natalie’s who will come after. I will never know which Natalie is the last Natalie and I have a hard time choosing my favorite Natalie. Here are just a few of the hers that I have been in this life.
Peace Corps Volunteer Natalie.
Barnes and Noble Natalie.
New New Yorker Natalie. (Oooo… that one is catchy right?!)
First year teacher Natalie
Jimmy loving Natalie.
How did Aubrey know all of this already? How did she know that she will evolve through so many seasons? As a guest teacher, and like all teachers, I will just get to see a small part of her evolution as she moves toward becoming the fullest version of herself. A few seasons probably. Sometimes really just this one season. And, if that is true, then what I say to her in this 5 minute writing conference, matters. Kindergarten Aubrey will carry this on with her and I want it to power the evolution of her most authentic Aubrey. This piece of writing will fall away. But kindergarten Aubrey… now that’s an investment.
Kindergarten Aubrey is wise about life.
She also does really know how-to make a cake.
You should ask her about both.